Lakers Forward Rui Hachimura Trained with LeBron James, Had ‘Extremely High Level of Confidence’ ahead of NBA Season Opener Next Month, GM Says, as LA Head Coach Also Praises Japan Star

Yomiuri Shimbun file photo
Rui Hachimura speaks at a press conference in a suburb of Los Angeles in May.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Los Angeles Lakers head coach Darvin Ham has high hopes for Rui Hachimura, the Japan power forward who re-signed with the storied franchise this offseason.

Hachimura, entering his fifth NBA season, can play multiple positions and has good physical strength, Ham said during a press conference in El Segundo, California, on Thursday.

Sitting alongside Ham was team general manager Rob Pelinka, who had this to say about Hachimura, according to

“Watching Rui come here after the trade felt like a personal renaissance for him. He just came alive as a player again. And he parlayed that this offseason with really incredible work. He spent most of his time training with LeBron — I think that was intentional. He’s playing with an extremely high level of confidence and belief. I think his strength and athleticism look like they’re at a different level.”

LeBron James is the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and the face of this current Lakers team.

Ham also praised Hachimura for his improved defense and added that he will use him in various combinations with other players.

The Lakers play their first regular season game on Oct. 24.